Restaurants & Dining
St. Maarten/St. Martin is celebrated as a foodie destination and is filled with more wonderful, eclectic places to dine compared to any other island in the Caribbean. The island is known as the Gastronomic paradise in the entire Caribbean boasting over 400 restaurants.
Although most people come to St. Maarten/St. Martin for sun and fun, they leave praising the cuisine. Great dining thrives throughout the island from fabulous restaurants in Grand Case, the bistros in Marigot, the hopping restaurants in the Maho resort area and Cupecoy to the low-key eateries of Simpson Bay and the many lolos (roadside BBQ stands) throughout.
Food takes on a whole new meaning on our island…The food is a multicultural blend of ethnic traditions. The variety is truly amazing along with the creative and evocative cuisine that is offered at the higher end restaurants.
During the high season (Winter months), it is essential to make restaurant reservations for some of the best places. Dutch side restaurants sometimes do include a 15% service charge, so make sure to check your bill before tipping. On the French side, service is usually included, but it is customary to leave 5-10% extra (definitely worth checking as well).
What to Wear – Although appropriate dining attire ranges from swimsuits to sport jackets, casual dress is usually accepted. For men, a nice shirt and khakis or jean will take you anywhere and for women, dressy pants, a skirt or even fancy shorts are usually acceptable. Jeans are fine in the less formal restaurants.
Just to give you a taste of what is available on St. Maarten/St. Martin, we have compiled a list of some of our recommended restaurants:
Dutch Side – St. Maarten Restaurants
Basilico – Authentic Italian diner’s paradise, open from 4:00 PM daily. Basilico International offering not only great dining, but also a wonderful experience as it comprises of the Basilico Restaurant, Basilico Brick Oven Wood Fired Pizzeria, Bar and Lounge at the ideal location at Starz Casino in Cupecoy.
Mario Bistro – Intriguing blend of Asian, French and Caribbean cuisine prepared by Chef Mario, open for dinner only. With the impeccable service and an exceptional menu, Mario Bistrot is not to be missed. Originally located in Sandy Ground, the restaurant is now located at Porto Cupecoy right on the waterfront by the marina.
Temptation – Nouveau Cuisine, open for dinner only. Chef/Owner Dino Jagtiani presides over the kitchen. In Feb 2005 Bon Appetit Magazine called Temptation “one of the top 10 new restaurants in the Caribbean”. In its first few years, Temptation sky-rocketed to the top of the island’s dynamic dining scene, winning “restaurant of the year” by the Gault Millau Guide 3 yrs in a row 06,07,and 08, and also scoring 16 points by the same Gault Millau Guide. A restaurant not to be missed during your stay!
Bamboo Bernie’s – Japanese, NY style sushi with a Caribbean Twist, open from 5:00 PM daily and there is happy hour from 5-7 PM daily. Dramatic, hip restaurant and lounge located on the top level of the Maho shopping area features red lacquer walls, lounging tables, Indonesian art, a first rate bar and electro-house tunes.
Le Moulin Fou – French & Japanese (sushi) cuisine, open for dinner only. Busy restaurant located towards the back of the Maho complex serving French food as well as fish, pasta, steaks and good sushi.
La Rosa Too – Italian Cuisine, open for dinner only. One of the more traditional Italian restaurants on the island serving some of your favorite Italian dishes.
Oyster Pond/Dawn Beach
Big Fish – Diverse menu with a focus on seafood, open for dinner only. South Beach meets the Caribbean – hip, modern and upscale dining experience.
Canoa – International cuisine with a Caribbean flair, open for dinner only. Top rated restaurant located right on the Oyster Pond Marina.
Mr. Busby’s Beach Bar / Danielle’s by the Sea – International Cuisine, open for breakfast, unch and dinner. Located right on Dawn Beach, this is a great hang-out while visiting Dawn Beach. They have great burgers, ribs, chicken, fresh lobster, seafood and Italian dishes. At night, the restaurant is called Danielle’s by the Sea offering wonderful international cuisine.
Le Pavillon by the Sea – French-influenced, Pan-Caribbean cuisine, open for dinner daily. This restaurant offers a wonderful seaside setting located just over the hill from Captain Oliver’s Marina.
L’Escargot – Classic French cuisine and seafood, open for lunch and dinner. L’Escargot, celebrated for over 30 years, offers excellent dining in a vintage gingerbread Creole house that dates back over 150 years right in the heart of Philipsburg.
Ocean Lounge – Blend of European & Caribbean flavors, open for lunch and dinner. Overlooking Great Bay, experience this elegant Ocean Lounge Restaurant right on the boardwalk and beach in Philipsburg. The chef uses the freshest ingredients to create eclectic and modern dishes.
Taloula Mango’s – Casual beachfront restaurant offering creative Caribbean cuisine, ribs & burgers, open for lunch and dinner. Located on the boardwalk, diners can choose from the open air terrace or the upstairs air conditioned dining balcony. Great spot to have lunch or enjoy a drink while shopping in Philipsburg.
The Boathouse – Seafood Grill & Bar, open for lunch and dinner. The Boathouse has been welcoming patrons to the island for more than 15 years. The ambiance is whimsically nautical in décor, and guests dine on fresh seafood, daily specials, steaks, burgers, salads and pastas while overlooking Simpson Bay Lagoon. Good place for the entire family to hang out.
Izi Ristorante Italiano – Italian cuisine, open for dinner only. Great Italian food for the entire family. For something fun, diners are invited to create their own menu – pick a pasta and sauce; then add your choice of meat, fish and vegetables.
Karakter Beach Lounge – Eclectic, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This funky and charming modern beach bar, located right behind the airport, offers a vibe like St. Tropez. The restaurant serves up fresh fruit smoothies, tropical cocktails, fresh fruit salads, healthy sandwiches and tapas. Live music is offered in the evenings.
Lee’s Roadside Grill – Island style seafood restaurant, open for lunch and dinner. This restaurant is a favorite for casual dining offering great fresh seafood, lobster and a large selection of other entrees including ribs, chicken and hamburgers. Live music is offered every evening. Great place for the family.
Pineapple Pete – International, Island & French Cuisine, open for lunch and dinner. Casual place to hang out offering great food at reasonable prices. Their motto is “Great Food, Great Service” and you will find exactly that here. The menu features a wide variety of items that can please the most difficult palate. They also offer an air conditioned game room with 8 pool tables, dart boards and arcade games. Perfect place for the family.
Top Carrot – Friendly café and juice bar, open for breakfast and lunch daily. It features fresh and tasty vegetarian entrees, sandwiches, salads, homemade pastries and fresh fish.
Sal & Pepe – Contemporary Italian bistro, open for lunch & dinner. A hidden gem for real homemade cooking in a relaxed and casual atmosphere.
So French – French cuisine, open for dinner only. The Owner of La Cigale in Nettle Bay opened this lovely French restaurant right in Simpson Bay. The same care is taken in the preparation of the food where you will discover unforgettable flavors while overlooking the picturesque view of Simpson Bay.
Zee Best – Open for breakfast and lunch. Zee Best has earned loyal breakfast fans for its incredibly fresh and wonderful pastries, croissants and other baked goods, extensive coffee selection and freshly squeezed juices. Diners may also choose from crêpes, omelets, quiches and much more. Established in 1983, Zee Best had its original location in Marigot’s Marina Royale.
French Side – St. Martin Restaurants
Anse Marcel Beach – Creative menu offering a blend of French, Caribbean, Seafood, Mediterranean cuisine, open for lunch only. This lovely restaurant is located right on Anse Marcel beach and it is an amazing spot to have lunch and lay on the beach for the day. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available on the beach.
Cul de Sac
Le Ti Bouchon – French cuisine, open for dinner only (closed during summer season) – Great French food offered on a wrap-around porch of a colorfully refurbished Creole cottage in French Cul de Sac.
Sol E Luna – French cuisine, open for dinner only. A beautiful, intimate restaurant with charming and elegant furnishing. Nestled in Mont Vernon, near French Cul de Sac, you find a remarkable gem, Sol E Luna. Known as one of the most romantic restaurants with amazing food in the Caribbean.
Bistro Caraibes – French-Caribbean Cuisine, open for dinner only. With contemporary décor throughout, the restaurant is located on the main street in the center of Grand Case.
La Villa – French cuisine, open for dinner only. Lovely French restaurant located in the heart of Grand Case.
L’Escapade – French cuisine, open for lunch and dinner. Romantic French Restaurant by the water in the Grand Case Bay since 1981.
Le Cottage – Traditional & gourmet French restaurant, open daily for dinner only (closed on Sundays, May-November). This trendy restaurant with its unique setting will ravish your taste buds by a refined and innovating cuisine.
Le Pressoir – Fine French Cuisine, open for dinner only. This restaurant is among the finest and famous restaurants of our island. Enjoy an evening of authentic and gastronomic cooking in a traditional Creole house built in 1871. Intimate and authentic, Le Pressoir will stay an unforgettable experience.
Le Tastevin – French Gourmet Cuisine, open for lunch and dinner. This restaurant is known for its attentive and discreet service and gorgeous sunset views. Le Tastevin offers imaginative cuisine – blending traditional French seasoned with the flavors of the islands.
Ocean 82 – Refined French cuisine, open for lunch & dinner from November-May and open for dinner only from June-October. Refined French cuisine with a magnificent ocean view is the mix of senses the chef & owner would like you to experience.
Rainbow – Caribbean-French Fusion Cuisine, open for dinner only. This restaurant has been here for over 25 years offering superb food and excellent service.
Spiga Restaurant – Modern Italian cuisine, open for dinner only. Spiga opened its doors in November 2002 and has gained a reputation as one of the finer Italian restaurants on the island. Discover a restored Creole home offering creative cuisine.
“The Lolo’s” – Casual, open air, BBQ eateries run by locals. Must be explored at least once during your visit to the island. Setting is by the beach with picnic tables around the BBQ grills with fresh fish, lobsters, shrimps, ribs, chicken, etc. Very moderately priced for great food in a very casual, laid back atmosphere. Dine by the sea or the lively streets of Grand Case.
Hidden Forest Café at Loterie Farm – International and Caribbean cuisine, open for lunch and dinner. Schedule a trip for a day to hang out at the Loterie Farm and take in lunch or dinner in lovely tree-house pavilions with a safari vibe.
Café de Paris – French Brasserie, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Waterfront, brasserie style restaurant located in Marina Royale overlooking the marina.
Enoch’s Place – Local cuisine, open for breakfast and lunch. This restaurant is located right in the Marigot Marketplace and is the place where locals go to each. Enjoy great local cuisine and local fish made fresh daily.
La Belle Epoque – Bar, Brasserie and Pizzeria, open daily for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Located at Marina Royale, this restaurant is a popular waterfront restaurant offering International cuisine to include a variety of salads, pasta, large choice of excellent pizzas, meat and fish specialties. Great spot to grab a bite after a day of shopping in Marigot.
Le Bistro Nu – French/Creole cuisine, open for lunch and dinner. A great French/Creole restaurant bistro located right in the heart of Marigot. Great sidewalk bistro style ambiance.
Le Marrakech – Real Moroccan cuisine, open for dinner only (Monday-Saturday). Authentic Moroccan food served in a typical Moroccan ambiance with a nice open garden courtyard in the middle.
Le Tropicana – Parisian Bistro offering classic and creative French cuisine, open for lunch and dinner. The restaurant is on Marina Royale in Marigot overlooking the marina. Le Tropicana provides gutsy, rootsy cooking tempered with a light, modern touch. Excellent reputation for many years.
La Cigale – French cuisine, open for dinner only. Directly located on the beach of Laguna Beach, this restaurant offers a Terrace on the Lagoon and an air conditioned room. The delicious food is edible sculpture and the team will make you discover mixtures of unforgettable flavors.
Dreams Beach Bar & Restaurant – Brasserie, French cuisine, sushi, open for breakfast and lunch during the Summer/Fall season and open for break, lunch and dinner during the Winter/Spring season. Located right on the beach, the restaurant offers a friendly atmosphere with a refined décor where you are welcome to enjoy the sun beds on the beach and have a great dining experience.
Layla’s Beach Bar & Restaurant – French creole cuisine & seafood, open for lunch Tuesday-Sunday and dinner Friday-Sunday. The restaurant is located right on the beach and is an oasis of tranquility on the Nettlé Bay beach.
Le Sand – French cuisine, fresh local fish, tapas & snacks, open for lunch & dinner. The restaurant is located on the beach in Nettle Bay with a private beach and lounge style bar. The ambiance is upscale and modern.
Bikini Beach Tapas Bar & Grill – Tapas, Thai Seafood & more, open daily for breakfast and lunch. Located in the heart of Orient Bay, this restaurant serves a huge variety of tapas (appetizers) and a variety of entrees with a Thai influence. A full American breakfast is also served daily.
Kakao Beach – International Cuisine, open daily for lunch. Located right on Orient Bay, this restaurant serves a wonderful menu.
Kontiki Beach – A blend of Thai, American & French cuisine, open daily for lunch. A lively and trendy beachfront restaurant. This is a great location to spend the day, rent a chair and umbrella for the day and have your meal delivered to you right on the beach, if preferred.
Waikiki Beach – International Cuisine, open daily for lunch. Located on Orient Bay, this restaurant serves a fabulous menu. Slightly higher in price than the other restaurants on Orient Bay, but well worth it! You can also opt for their daily buffet (offering a good selection of food at a reasonable price) instead of ordering a la carte. This is also a great location to spend the day as they offer rentals of beach chairs & umbrellas and full service on the beach.
Le Santal – Gastronomic restaurant, open for dinner only. Five Star gourmet restaurant ranked as one of the best in the Caribbean. In 2006, Le Santal was honored the coveted AAA Four Diamonds Awards for creative cuisine, excellent service and upscale surroundings. This charming restaurant is one of the longest established and most acclaimed restaurants on the island. The restaurant is located in a beachside villa with a very romantic ambiance and fabulous view…Enjoy your dinner with the sound of the waves right in front of you.